Virtual World: Close Combat Mage

Chapter 126

Chapter 126 - Blossoming Crimson Lotus

The high-spirited Mage, Drifting, began to take charge of the grinding party. After observing the surroundings and the respawn rate of the monsters in this map, he quickly commanded Left Hand of Love and Right Hand of Cool to start luring the monsters and designated the ladies to stand in certain positions.

Fortunately, the ladies were well aware of their strength and thoroughly followed this expert’s instructions to them without a complaint, question, or outright disobedience. Each of them was in fact very meek.

Luo Luo was still busying her hands with showering Heal upon Heal on to Gu Fei while all of these things were happening around them.

Gu Fei stared at Luo Luo expressionlessly. Luo Luo stared back at Gu Fei with eyes that withheld all sorts of meaning.

Oh, how deceptively blue the sky was, as a flock of birds’ monotonous cawing mockingly echoed in the air on their way to the south—“Get into your positions, everyone!” Drifting shouted, incidentally disrupting this ‘complicated’ scene.

Gu Fei suddenly felt flustered. Drifting actually places dates before his mates! Drifting only arranged the ladies’ positions and actually left out Gu Fei’s. Gu Fei quickly ran all the way to Drifting and stood right beside him, “Drifting bro, what about me? Where should I stand?” Although Gu Fei liked to engage with the monsters head on, he could not just do as he pleased in a Mage-based grinding party. Since that was the case, he could only copy the ladies’ action and cast Descending Wheel of Flames whenever possible.

Drifting glanced at Gu Fei, “Is there a need for you to stand still with your high movement speed, Miles? It’s not as if the monsters can catch up to you….”

“Oh….”

“Why don’t you help lure some monsters, too? With more people doing the monster luring, the respawn of the monsters will be much faster!” Drifting flashed him a bright smile.

“Got it,” Gu Fei readily agreed as he was not the sort of person to avoid difficult tasks. In fact, he found it more interesting to lure the monsters than to stand still and numbly cast spells. Although Gu Fei had been trying his hardest to treat spell-casting as another form of kung fu training for hidden weapons, hidden weapons that dealt wide-range of damage were honestly impossible to find in reality. Thus, Gu Fei was actually not much interested in AOE spells – a way of thinking that vastly differed from the usual Mages.

Finally, everything was set up as per Drifting’s instructions. Gu Fei and Will-low were in charge of luring the monsters from the east, Left Hand of Love and Right Hand of Cool were in charge of luring the monsters from the south, and the majority of the ladies, who were standing in two neat rows, were in charge of attacking the lured monsters at the northwest corner. Drifting, meanwhile, would be responsible for overseeing everything at the very corner of their grinding formation.

“Let’s begin!” Drifting commanded.

The four players in charge of luring the monsters headed toward their allocated regions, each with a different style of doing the job.

Left Hand of Love and Right Hand of Cool’s monster luring techniques were superb and their coordination was awe-inspiring. It was clear that they were born to do this sort of job, swiftly and easily causing a train of monsters to trail behind them from the south.

Gu Fei and Will-low were a sharp contrast to the two’s level of expertise. There was hardly any coordination between the pair and Will-low clearly had never experienced joining a grinding party of Mages before based on her rudimentary monster-luring skill. Adding the fact that the monsters were ten levels above hers, Will-low could not help but run too fast in panic. This resulted into three out of the four monsters she had lured to lose track of her in the process and into her getting trapped by the monsters instead when she turned back to gather them anew.

Gu Fei was left speechless when he saw that this person who was supposed to be luring the monsters got lured by the monsters, instead. He hurriedly brought his train of monsters by Will-low’s side, rescuing Will-low from the encirclement by throwing a few balls of fire to pull the monsters off of her.

When the two finally brought the monsters back to the party, Gu Fei had more or less maintained his train of monsters while Will-low only had one monster trailing behind her, appearing no better than a one-man tractor.

Everyone felt awkward to mention this fact; even Will-low blushed crimson as she stuck her tongue out to Gu Fei in embarrassment.

“Get ready, ladies! The trains are arriving into the station,” Drifting called out. The ladies nodded their heads as each raised their staves and called upon a mess of Descending Wheel of Flames.

Drifting raised his head to look and cried out in shock, “Oh, my god!” Gu Fei, who had already completed his task of pulling the monsters, was leisurely watching the scene unfold before him by the side when he happened to take in Drifting’s bitter look. Gu Fei’s heart leaped in happiness as he muttered to himself, “Kid, now you know what ‘true power’ is!”

Up in the sky, the scattered, fiery circles appeared like a sequence of Olympic rings as they danced with the wind.

If the ladies knew where to cast their spells, they would direct the spells to the same place with 100% accuracy. Right now, without a specific place to target, their flame wheels hovered in the air in a disorganized way that somewhat overlapped with one another. Drifting of course did not expect the ladies to cast Descending Wheel of Flames with great accuracy, but for them to form such a unique shape with the combined flame wheels was definitely a sight to behold.

He had trained with some noobs before, but he had never done so with many of them together! Drifting was disheartened by what he saw, calling down his final “Descend” command with a sob.

“Descend!” the ladies cried out as killing intent radiated from them.

The flame wheels dove straight to the ground and, just as Gu Fei had expected, failed to clear off any of the monsters. Drifting had also expected this wave of attacks to not work after seeing the Olympic rings.

Gu Fei’s Spell Damage that was beyond his level and precise control that had been honed by his twenty years of kung fu training with hidden weapons managed to salvage yesterday’s situation with his Blazing Tree of a Thousand Inferno spell. As for Drifting, how would his spell salvage the present situation?

Gu Fei realized that Drifting’s monster luring strategy was slightly more complicated than his luring strategy yesterday. With four people luring the monsters, the amount of monsters lured increased by a fold compared to that of yesterday. Thus, with that wave of flame wheels, a larger number of monsters headed toward the spell-casters.

Gu Fei was just about to intervene upon seeing that not doing anything would make the situation worse, yet Drifting unexpectedly beat him to a punch as the latter had already stepped right into the midst of the mob of monsters in two large strides.

Gu Fei bewilderedly gulped back the incantation that that was on the tip of his tongue. If Gu Fei released his spell into the mob of mobsters, Drifting would most likely be burned off together with them. Just what was he thinking? Gu Fei became anxious.

The ladies turned into a flustered mess when they realized that the monsters were rushing toward them.

At this moment, Drifting, who was within the mob of monsters, raised his staff and bellowed, “Blossoming Crimson Lotus! Expand!” A huge boom rang out. This was the sound cue that the game designers had designated for when a raging fire got ignited. A column of flame bloomed from within Drifting and layers of fire rolled off of him in waves. The surrounding monsters were engulfed by this undulating conflagration, burning up each of them until not even ashes remained behind.

Gu Fei was shocked by the scene that that had just unfolded before him despite his disinterest in AOE spells. The spell was just too powerful! However, what was even more amazing was Drifting fearlessly standing in the midst of everything. Parallel World did not grant immunity from friendly fire to players and this included the players’ own spells. This meant that if players casted Descending Wheel of Flames upon themselves, the ensuing flame wheels that would land would deal damage to them just like how they would to monsters or to other individuals.

Drifting was right at the heart of the blazing red lotus, so how would he survive it? Did he sacrifice himself in order to save everyone? Gu Fei was still pondering on this when the mass of monsters was burned to a crisp and the floral flame was extinguished. There stood Drifting in his original position, with his robe fluttering in the warm exhaust of the flame residue and his magic staff’s incandescence dimming in the wake of the spell.

Everyone was stunned for a good half minute; Left Hand of Love and Right Hand of Cool looked each other in the eye with a prideful expression on their faces.

The ladies finally reacted as they cheered, “Wow! That was so pretty!”

Drifting was shocked as a crestfallen look flashed over him.

Gu Fei could not help but sigh sympathetically. From time to time, experts would experience this sort of loneliness that came from being around people who were ignorant of their prowess, which was truly the case with this lot of girls. Drifting, my boy, just accept your fate!

“What spell is that?” asked the ladies who had surrounded Drifting.

“It’s a spell that comes with my staff,” Drifting absent-mindedly replied. Being revered by a crowd was something he dearly wished, so he was a bit upset when that did not happen before. Now that he was finally getting what he wanted, Drifting actually felt preoccupied as he was squeezed by the ladies. His gaze landed squarely on to Gu Fei who was standing just outside the crowd.

Gu Fei had one hand on the sword planted to the ground, while the other was flashing a thumbs-up to Drifting. Drifting smiled slightly as he nodded his head as a form of reply. They resumed their grinding right after this incident.

The solution Drifting came up with to manage the ladies’ Olympic rings of Descending Wheel of Flames was actually the same one Royal God Call had come up with: drew a circle to the ground.

Now that there was a specific place to target their spells, none of the ladies would messily throw them out any longer. Although the problem with the ladies was resolved, the difficulty for the people luring the monsters had risen with such an arrangement. Furthermore, since two groups were in charge of luring the monsters, luring the monsters into the circle together was quite a headache.

Left Hand of Love and Right Hand of Cool were able to display their expertise now. With a considerate tone, they said to Gu Fei and Will-low, “Just concentrate on luring the monsters on to your side. We’ll coordinate with your rhythm on this matter.”

“Thanks,” Gu Fei said in appreciation. When it came to luring monsters, it was more important to have gaming knowledge rather than knowing kung fu. Thus, in this aspect, Gu Fei was just like any average players with no exceptional skill to boast about.

When the level grinding resumed, Gu Fei and Will-low did their best to lure the monsters and Left Hand of Love and Right Hand of Cool carefully observed the pair while skillfully luring the monsters over at their side. Taking a turn and staggering their pacing, they finally matched up to Gu Fei and Will-low’s monster luring pace and approached the two with their respective train of monsters.

With a command from Drifting, many flame wheels crashed into the monsters inside that marked circle. At the same time, Drifting and Gu Fei casted Blazing Tree of a Thousand Inferno.

Seeing that Drifting was able to insta-kill many players with an AOE spell in the tavern and given the fact that he did not equip the powerful Yew Staff on himself and wanted to trade it with others instead, he clearly possessed monstrous Spell Damage.

The neatly stacked Descending Wheels of Flames from the ladies with Drifting’s Blazing Tree of a Thousand Inferno cleanly killed off all the monsters that that had entered the drawn circle.

Everyone cheered once more. With the method now secured, grinding could finally continue at a steady pace. “Miles, you don’t have to eat any fruits today!” some of the ladies playfully teased Gu Fei.

“Anyone would get tired of eating those all the time,” Gu Fei riposted.

“Don’t worry; I’ll let you eat my Heal,” Luo Luo said as she bestowed Heal on to him.

Gu Fei emotionlessly stared at Luo Luo. Luo Luo stared back at Gu Fei with eyes that withheld a myriad of meaning.

Oh, how blue the sky was, as a flock of mystical creatures flew toward the south....

The level grinding proceeded without a hitch, with the ladies passionately awaiting more performances from Drifting’s Blossoming Crimson Lotus.

Drifting did not provide much information with regard to that spell. Although the gossipmongers were scorching inside with questions, they still had the common sense of online gamers and did not pester Drifting about it upon seeing that he was trying to keep it a secret.

Nonetheless, everyone more or less discovered quite a few things about the spell after laying eyes on it. It seemed that the spell had no specific AOE. Just like the Ring of Fire spell, the Blossoming Crimson Lotus spell used the character as its core to unfold from. This explained why Drifting was able to stand at the heart of the spell and not suffer any damage.

Besides that, from that first time that it was used, the spell can be said to have extremely tyrannical Spell Damage. That staff of his might perhaps be some top-grade equipment just like my Moonlit Nightfalls, Gu Fei deduced in his mind. However, since Drifting was at level 41, only four people in the entire server of Parallel World would be able to appraise his equipment. As such, no one knew if Drifting had any other equipment that increased his Spell Damage.

No further incident happened afterward and the ladies ended today’s level grinding session in a happy note. This was something that Gu Fei found surprising, as he felt that Royal God Call should have cried for help in English at least once today! Did that kid actually get lucky enough to acquire easy ‘Bounty Mission’ targets consecutively?

Upon asking Royal God Call directly, it was truly as Gu Fei had thought. Ever since that black-capped Warrior at the tavern, the missions Royal God Call had acquired afterward were all very easy to handle.

“How many times?” Gu Fei asked.

“Fifteen times so far,” Royal God Call replied, feeling very pleased with himself. This level of efficiency was indeed shocking. Gu Fei reckoned that the Windchaser Emblem’s instant submission effect and every minute update of the coordinates had saved Royal God Call at least two thirds of the usual time.

“Seems like it is smooth sailing for you now; you better pray that you don’t pick up a target with only a minute left of his or her PK-value duration!” Gu Fei said.

“Are you dumb? I’ll just find players with more than 2 PK points! The rewards are better and there’s no fear of the time issue you mentioned,” Royal God Call immediately mocked Gu Fei for his mistake, considering how rare it was for Royal God Call to have an opportunity to do so.

“Do you still want my help?” Sadly, Gu Fei had something he could use against Royal God Call as well.

“Big bro, I’m sorely mistaken…” It was evident that Royal God Call still needed him.

“Alright, I’m about to log off; you should do the same, too!” Gu Fei admonished.

“Log what off? Let’s just pull an all-nighter!” Royal God Call spiritedly said. Gu Fei did not bother to reply to him. G*d d*mn! I even gotta deal with people’s attitude despite my difficult time questing; how annoying! The expert, Royal God Call, had quite some pent-up grievances in his heart. The grievances were not mostly about Gu Fei but more about the unfairness he felt for himself. He was a famous top-rate gamer in the online gaming community, yet when he had actually gotten a quest for himself, he could not even handle it on his own. Royal God Call could only feel sorry for himself, which was a far cry from his glorious past self, as he shot his sixteenth target of the day. “Come online earlier tomorrow!” that was the message he had sent to Gu Fei in the end.

“I’ll try my best,” Gu Fei replied to him; he was bidding farewell to Drifting and the others over by his side as well.

Whereas Gu Fei and the Amethyst Rebirth’ ladies were about to log off, players like Drifting would still devote themselves into the game to maintain their positions as top rankers. Just like how Royal God Call would continuously play without discerning night from day and vice versa, these people’s gaming schedule could also not be measured using normal human beings’ standard.

The three were very shocked when they heard that the others no longer wished to continue grinding, telling them that they still wished to continue grinding and the ladies and Gu Fei could take their leave first.

“Will you still be grinding with us tomorrow?” Gu Fei asked Drifting. With him around, Gu Fei no longer had to cast spells, thereby making things much easier for him. Since he was sick of constantly eating apples already, Gu Fei feared that he would also get sick of eating pears, peaches, and bananas if he continued to do everything by himself. There were only so many types of common fruits in reality and it would be far too depressing if he ended up hating them because of playing Parallel World.

“We’ll keep in touch tomorrow!” Drifting said.

“Until then,” After adding him to his friends list, Gu Fei bade them farewell. Drifting watched him walk off toward the city.

“Let’s go!” Left Hand of Love and Right Hand of Cool called Drifting over.

“There’s more to that Thousand Miles Drunk,” Drifting commented.

“What?” the two asked for him to explain his comment further.

“Although he hasn’t shown it, his Spell Damage is actually very high,” Drifting continued.

“How do you know that?” Left Hand of Love asked.

“Do you recall the party’s first attempt at monster luring? That mess of Descending Wheel of Flames only hurt most of the monsters once or twice,” Drifting explained.

“Yeah, I remember that. It’s fortunate that you used Blossoming Crimson Lotus to resolve that predicament.  Otherwise, those ladies would be in big trouble,” Left Hand of Love agreed.

“That’s right. The monsters headed toward the ladies since they attracted the monsters’ aggro with their spells, but I noticed that the monsters that Thousand Miles Drunk had lured did not change their target and continued to chase after him,” Drifting continued.

“So what?” Left Hand of Love asked.

“Idiot. That means that the monsters’ aggro was still on him! He used his Fireball spell to pull those monsters and bring them over. Even when the ladies’ Descending Wheel of Flames hit those monsters, he still held the monsters’ aggro. Think. How high is the damage output of his Fireball spell to accomplish that?”

Left Hand of Love finally comprehended everything and exclaimed, “Can it be as high as yours?”

“I don’t know. It’s too bad that that party of ladies’ Spell Damage is really low. They would probably die back then if I didn’t step forward in time. If not, I could’ve checked the damage output of Miles’ Fireball spell,” Drifting said in a disappointed tone of voice.

“How can his damage output be as high as yours? Won’t that mean that his equipment is even more insane than yours, given how his speed is of someone with a full-Agility build?” Right Hand of Cool was an Archer, so he had pretty good judgment when it came to the Agility stat and movement speed of a character.

Drifting said, “If the problem does not lie with his sword, then it probably lies with his robe. I’ve tried appraising him several times, yet those two items just couldn’t be appraised.”

The two men behind him nodded their heads.

“Let’s take a look around this grinding map and search for an area that doesn’t have monsters resistant to fire magic; this way, I can gauge how powerful his spell’s damage output is,” Drifting told the two as he made his way toward another area within the grinding map.

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